Testing the Effect of Fast-Track Adoption Policy on Adoption Rates
Typically, when a child enters foster care, the state must first make reasonable efforts to reunify the child with his or her family; only after making this effort may the state move to terminate parental rights (TPR), a key step in the adoption process. To facilitate permanency for children who cannot return home safely, federal statue lays out certain criteria and timeframes for initiating TPR. States have the discretion to build on this framework, and as a result, adoption policy varies considerably from place to place.
States craft their adoption policies based on the assumption that a certain combination of criteria and timelines will shorten the time to adoption when that is the appropriate permanency goal; however, this hypothesis has not been tested. In a new research brief, Testing the Effect of Fast-Track Adoption Policy on Adoption Rates, we attempt to fill that gap in the knowledge base by examining whether differences in state adoption policy explain state-to-state differences in the rate of adoption.
Download the brief to read about the study, the findings, and possible implications for policy design and implementation.